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Israel-Palestine fight draws conflicted lines in Seattle

Jewish Voice for Peace protests Boeing's supplying of weapons to Israel, but is the group representative of any significant local change?

Early last Monday, a group of nine protesters locked themselves together outside of Boeing’s entrance in Tukwila. They joined with 40 other protesters to lie on the asphalt and concrete, blocking the entrance for three hours as temperatures reached 88 degrees. A woman spoke into a megaphone and read off names of the Palestinian civilians who have died since the fighting began on July 8. As the protestors staged their “die-in” in front of Boeing they chanted, “We stand with Palestine, killing civilians is a crime.”

The activists were part of a trend that has become more visible in Seattle and the rest of the country as the Israeli-Palestinian fight has raged: Jewish Americans are joining in what some see as growing protests of Israel's actions.

At Boeing last week, Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish organization advocating for peace and justice in the Middle East, protested what they say is Boeing Defense, Space and Security's supplying of weapons to the Israeli Defense Force that end up being used on Palestinian civilian targets. One of the protesters, Mariel Boyarksy, stood holding a bright blue painted sign that read, “Jewish Voice for Peace says not in my name.”

Boyarksy said she was brought up in a very Jewish family and can understand the Israeli narrative, but doesn’t support Israel's 47-year occupation of Palestine. “I would say I am a Jewish person who is in solidarity with Palestine. You know, saying pro-Israel, pro-Palestine sets it up as a dichotomy. I believe in Jewish people’s right also to live in that place, but I don’t believe in the ongoing occupation of that place,” Boyarsky said in an interview. "And I don’t believe in the systematic oppression of Palestinians."

The JVP rally for Palestine was one of a number of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Seattle. Amin Odeh of Voices of Palestine and Ed Mast of Palestine Solidarity Committee—Seattle say they have noticed increased support from the wider community for their cause.

It's not at all clear that there is any widespread turn toward the Palestinian cause here or across America, which has consistently been Israel's strongest ally.

While more Jews are joining Jewish Voice for Peace, Rob Jacobs, regional director of StandWithUs Northwest, a non-profit pro-Israel advocacy organization, considers the Jewish Voice for Peace's members “outliers.” Jacobs said the group only represents about 50 people of the Seattle Jewish community, which consists of 45,000.

“I think the vast majority of the Jewish community has rallied in support for Israel during this time,” Jacobs said. “Within the Jewish community, this has probably pulled the community together more than it has been in years. For us it’s so frustrating that Israel does not have a party on the other side that is seriously willing to sit down and negotiate. The whole reason for Hamas’ existence, according to Hamas in the Hamas charter, is to get rid of Israel. It says specifically "no negotiations, no peace discussions.' " He quotes a passage from the Hamas charter about killing Jews. “It’s not only anti-Israel, it’s anti-Jewish,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs noted that the Jewish community in Seattle has had several rallies in recent weeks in support for Israel. One held in Occidental Park drew 650 people. And nearly 300 people, mostly Israelis in the Seattle area, showed up for a flashmob rally on Bellevue Way in downtown Bellevue just this past Thursday.

Jewish Voice for Peace conducts a die-in outside Boeing offices in Tukwila Jessica Buxbaum

Yet Stefanie Fox, director of organizing at Jewist Voice for Peace, observed that the recent crisis between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza has brought in a new flood of people from the Jewish community nationally who are saying, “We won’t abide this and we will stand with you.” Fox called this trend “profoundly moving.”


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 10:16 a.m. Inappropriate

I hope people will also read this article from the Israeli paper, Haaretz. "When dead children have no names: Israel's terrifying descent into numbness."

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.608690

Our government seems to have taken the same journey. The people in Gaza are refugees from ethnic cleansing that accompanied the arrival of the state of Israel on top of the Palestinian people. Gazans have found no refuge, obviously.

The horrific justifications offered by the Israeli government and our state department for the murder of children, women and elders fly in the face of international law.

As Dr. Mads Gilbert from Norway who has been trying to work in Gaza during the massacres described the situation as a "defeat for humanity."

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 8:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Stop firing rockets at Israel then. Simple.

Simon

Posted Thu, Aug 7, 12:05 p.m. Inappropriate

I wonder how much the commenter knows about the "humanitarian" Gilbert?

I wonder how much the commenter knows about humanitarian law, which exists to help reduce the death and suffering of innocents, and who is in violation?

Google Mads Gilbert and antisemitism and read his words that are not widely disseminated.

Understand that the number of dead does not detract that Israel is the BEST when it comes to following rules of war.

When people know the facts, they are more often inclined to support the principles that Israel reflects. More likely to reject what JVP says. Anyone can make a name that implies they are pro-Israel and for Peace.

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 5:25 p.m. Inappropriate

His name escapes me now but a columnist in WSJ pointed out that during WWII over 1 million German civilians were killed. The corresponding number of American civilians was about 12,000, less than 1,000 to one but close. The German war machine was where the Germans lived. What should we have done to correct that imbalance?

kieth

Posted Mon, Aug 4, 8:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Rolled over apparently.

Simon

Posted Tue, Aug 5, 1:10 p.m. Inappropriate

I suppose that Hamas supporters would be less morose if the casualty scales were more in balance. When it's pointed out to them that's it's not from a lack of trying on the part of Hamas, they get upset.

Djinn

Posted Thu, Aug 7, 12:30 p.m. Inappropriate

"Jewish Voice for Peace" sounds a bit like "German Jews for Adolph"

Seasoned

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